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Local Councils Will Compete With Businesses

Giving local councils the 'power of general competence' will mean they can compete directly with local businesses, ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Many local councils struggle to maintain effective water sewerage systems. If they can't handle the basics, what is going to happen when we give them unlimited new powers?

"The unintended consequences of this move will be huge. Local government will - either deliberately or inadvertently - compete with businesses. Those businesses in turn will have to pay rates to what is essentially a competitor.

"The existing Local Body law makes many potential activities 'ultra vires' for Local Authorities.

"This is quite deliberate, as Parliament's intention was always to constrain the scope of Local Body activities.

"The correct function for local bodies is the efficient provision of public goods such as water, sewerage and rubbish disposal.

"The regulatory nature of the Resource Management Act already reduces the right of the individual to have access to remedies under common law. We desperately need a constitution that protects the rights of the individual against the power of the state.

"The Local Government Review must be completed with this requirement constantly in our minds," Mr Eckhoff said.


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